- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 25, 2004

Six words echo through “Overnight,” a small-budget documentary about the meteoric rise and fall of a Hollywood “it” boy: “Harvey has that kind of power.”

“Harvey,” of course, is Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of Miramax Films, an industry colossus and the subject of intense admiration and hatred. In Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith’s unfettered-access account of Troy Duffy, a 15-minute trade-paper sensation in 1997, Mr. Weinstein’s name is tossed around with fairy-tale awe and, when the tables turn, vulgar disdain.

It’s Harvey this, Harvey that, oh, Harvey, my Harvey. We catch only one actual glimpse of the big man himself — enjoying an ice cream at the Cannes Film Festival — but his paw prints are purportedly all over Mr. Duffy, who could sit next to you on the Metro today and not warrant a glance up from your newspaper.

That’s probably a blessing, because the way “Overnight” tells it, Mr. Duffy was well on his way to matching Mr. Weinstein in hubris, self-importance and creating a hostile work environment.

When Mr. Weinstein found him, Mr. Duffy was a blue-collar Bostonian tending bar at the West Hollywood watering hole J. Sloan’s. A dead ringer for “Clerks” director Kevin Smith, he had visions of being a king of all media, both an indie writer-director and a rock star, in post-Tarantino Tinseltown.

Miramax had the keys. Mr. Weinstein paid Mr. Duffy and his associates (threateningly dubbed the Syndicate) $1 million to make a movie from Mr. Duffy’s screenplay “The Boondock Saints.” Mr. Duffy’s rock band, the Brood, which included his brother, Taylor Duffy, would handle the soundtrack.

For maximum media splash, Mr. Weinstein promised to plunk down money for the Syndicate to co-own J. Sloan’s. But what starts out as a rags-to-riches tale of workers taking over the factory becomes a cautionary tale of drunken inmates taking over the asylum.

Mr. Montana and Mr. Smith, both bar buddies of Mr. Duffy’s, don’t do a very good job of convincing us why anyone should have cared about the fate of “The Boondock Saints” — which eventually saw a small theatrical release and is said to be a back-shelf favorite at video stores — or the Brood. They assume the viewer is hip to the milieu, the same shortcoming that took some of the fun out of Ondi Timoner’s recent indie-rockumentary “DIG!”

But “Overnight” is still partly successful, mainly because Mr. Duffy, wearing denim overalls the way Tom Wolfe wears white suits, is so colorfully arrogant. What else to call a man who boasts of possessing a “cesspool of creativity”?

When the Miramax deal dries up and a contract with Maverick Records flies south, Mr. Duffy’s bloated self-confidence turns into recrimination and paranoia. Elation at the belief that he was able to find a shortcut around hard work and accomplishment quickly turns to desperation and self-pity.

“Troy seemed to revel in the attention of Hollywood’s lights and our cameras,” the filmmakers say in production notes. “Only three times during the production did he ask not to be filmed. It was on those occasions that he threatened us.”

It’s quite possible that Messrs. Montana and Smith hate Troy Duffy today, even as they attempt a bank-shot attack on Horrible Harvey.

**

TITLE: “Overnight”

RATING: R (Pervasive profanity, sexual references, brief nudity)

CREDITS: Directed by Tony Montana and Mark Brian Smith. Produced by Mr. Montana and Todd Fossey. Edited by Mr. Montana, Mr. Smith and Jonathan Nixon.

RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes.

MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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